Editor’s note: To mark Muni’s opening of its new T-Third streetcar line, we asked Market Street Railway’s historian, Phil Hoffman, to share his personal memories of the old Third Street streetcar operation, along with some history of the lines.
On the old Islais Creek bridge, Market Street Railway Co. had to share one of its tracks with freight trains. San Francisco Public Library photo. Click to enlarge photos in story.
Far from busy Third Street and its two streetcar lines, my childhood was spent in a quiet section of Cow Hollow which was dinky territory — with center-door Municipal Railway E-line cars and the Market Street Railway Co. single truck Fillmore Hill counterbalance. Occasionally I would ride larger streetcars in the Marina, Pacific Heights, or Downtown.
My father, a doctor who made house calls, enlarged my world of transit considerably when he began taking me along on afternoon visits to his Greek and Italian patients in the Bayview District. They were kind, friendly people. “Bring the kid in,” they would say and I would eagerly gobble up the food they offered me, while listening proudly to my father speak to them in their native tongues.